Quake in India followed persecution and episodes of the supernatural
A purification that is gaining momentum around the world has focused on India, where a quake that killed thousands followed a year of savage anti-Christian persecution.
Just last week a nun was murdered in south India.
While the overt motive was robbery in that case, the same demonism was at work, and other cases have been clear-cut incidents of persecution.
Shortly before Christmas a priest was stabbed on India's Andamane-Nicobar islands, and shortly before that a thirty-year-old priest was shot dead by insurgents in the state of Manipur.
In November there were four incidents of violence on Christian targets in a matter of days. One priest was attacked by a mob and beaten with iron rods. In October, four chapels were burned down. Last July a Lutheran bishop was murdered at Guntur. That same month a priest who had been on a motorbike was found shot in the head. Before that an Australian missionary and his two young sons were burned alive. "The past thirty months have witnessed several hundred criminal cases ranging from rape, loot, arson, bombing, murder, molestation, and exhumation of graves to desecration of places of worship," lamented a forum of 29 Protestant and Orthodox churches last summer.
Some of it has been strange: although there was no direct connection made to the persecution, two Protestant prelates, Bishop Vinod Peter, president of the National Council of Churches in India, and Church of North India Bishop Jerald Andrews of Jodhpur were killed when a van they were in skidded off the road last December 6.
The previous June, Archbishop Alan Basil de Lastic of New Delhi, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, died in a similar car accident while on a visit to Poland.
While much of the violence could be pegged to Muslim and Hindu fundamentalists, it was almost like a curse had been placed on Christians and indeed we have received reports of exorcisms and "phantoms" across the subcontinent. In Mochi Para, Loot Para, Jaruadih, and Rasikpur are tales of a supposedly "invisible" assailant called the Murkatwa that has caused such fear that people in remote areas like Godda and Sahebganj fled last summer to West Bengal.
"'Invisible assailant' strikes terror in Santhal Pargana," was one headline in The Times of India -- reporting on a ghoul that was allegedly attacking children and adults in outlying and often illiterate territories.
While that may be superstition, India has been full of spiritual occurrences. Much of it comes from paganism. Gods are still revered, including a snarling, murderous goddess named Kali.
"The devas who are worshipped as gods or goddesses by pagans are actually devils because, in hundreds of cases of exorcisms, I have come across these devas or devils under various names confessing against their wills that they are coming from the depth of hell," we were told by Father Robert Lewis of Ajmer -- just north of the quake zone. "I worked in St. Jude Shrine in South Kanara for ten years helping the priests there and performed hundreds of exorcisms over people who came from all over India, mostly non-Christians. I have seen practically all the miracles related in the Gospels, even a person rising from the dead after a doctor declared her dead and she was about to be buried. She had died of galloping TB. After she rose from the coffin she had no TB whatsoever."
There have also been claims that the Virgin Mary has appeared with warnings about sin in the world. Special miracles have been claimed in Hathikhera Post. As far back as 1981, reports came of messages to a woman named Celine -- the same year the Virgin began to visit Medjugorje in former Yugoslavia.
The quake last Friday came on the heels a huge Hindu religious festival, the single largest gathering in history with 50-70 million participants, including a flock of astrologers.
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